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Friday, August 14, 2009

"Atlas Shrugged" in Michigan

If Democrat Mark Brewer's proposals make it onto the 2010 ballot, Michigan may win the race it is in with California to be the first state to turn itself into a third world country.

While I know some get annoyed with a foray into American politics, Brewer's proposals are such a good example of economic madness, right out of Atlas Shrugged, that I can't resist. Besides, the governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, was born in Canada.

Brewer is state chairman -- that is, a high-ranking Democrat, and not a crank. If he wants to turn the following measures into ballot propositions, he'll probably succeed. And Michigan voters will probably vote for them.

Link here. The ballot proposals include:

● Mandating all employers to provide affordable health care for all their employees and dependents or pay a penalty.
● Raising the minimum wage from $7.40 per hour to $10 per hour and covering all workers with no exceptions.

● Increasing unemployment benefits by $100 a week, making all workers eligible and adding six months to the time one can   receive benefits.
●Cutting utility rates by 20%.

● Imposing a one-year moratorium on home foreclosures.

Michigan already has the highest unemployment rate in the U.S. Raising the minimum wage to $10/hour won't help with that. Nor will pushing out small businesses by requiring them to provide lavish health insurance to all their employees. I'm sure Wal-Mart will be able to cope, of course.

Michael Barone, the author of the article I cited, has some better suggestions for Michigan. Why not a ballot proposal to raise the minimum wage to $100/hour?

Actually, this could be an interesting social experiment: what is the highest minimum wage increase that would receive majority support if it were placed on the ballot? I'm thinking a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $20/hour could easily get the support of 50%+1. And, as Barone points out, a one-year moratorium on foreclosures isn't nearly enough. Who likes foreclosures anyway? Why not just forbid them entirely?

About the only thing that can be said about Brewer is that he's smart enough to turn these proposals into ballot propositions. Even politicians wouldn't be stupid enough to vote for them if they were raised in the legislature (at least, I don't think so, but maybe I'm having an optimistic moment.)

H/T: Timothy Sandefur, for the article and the Directive 10-289 reference.

Posted by Terrence Watson on August 14, 2009 | Permalink


Of course, I'm not claiming that the people of Michigan are especially stupid. Just about any random collection of people, in any jurisdiction, would likely vote to raise the minimum wage to at least 20 bucks an hour.

Or so I predict, though I have no idea how to test that prediction.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-08-14 9:48:10 PM

Minimum wage is a ceiling...not a floor.
Terrence, it all fits the pattern, or rather the advancement of the pattern. And it comes from the same source as it did in Atlas Shrugged. The insane :power for the sake of power and control for the sake of control" demagoguery that we've come to recognize immediately in so many ways. Large and small.
I guess Michigan will have to rely on whatever sense of morality is left within its citizens....good luck Michigan.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-08-14 10:34:15 PM

There won't be a business left in Michigan if those things were put into force. What utility comnpany could possibly afford to charge 20% less for their service? We're talking blackouts and shortages here and all of it artificially created by government/voters.

Posted by: Floyd Looney | 2009-08-14 10:58:01 PM

I'm sure I read that Michigan intended to pay for all this by increasing the number of hot vendor permits and privatizing the sidewalks and streets. All those people selling hot dogs and collecting sidewalk and street tolls would bring unemployment down to zero.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-08-15 7:51:20 AM

Watson. How are those e-cigarettes working out? As you are still posting they haven't electrocuted you. Are they as good as the real thing?

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-08-15 7:53:35 AM

I heard that armed guards are now needed to safeguard food for sale in Detroit. Yes it sounds like the worst moments of the end of the world as it was presented in Atlas Shrugged. She sure knew what she was talking about.

Posted by: JackDoitCrawford | 2009-08-15 12:36:11 PM

I think all the working / productive people should just leave Michigan. Let the socialists figure it out.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-08-15 10:56:11 PM

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